QUESTION : When can MPs be suspended from the House? What Rules are followed in the process? Explain with details.
Topic- A POINT OF ORDER
- Suspension of Members of Parliament And No-confidence motion against RS Deputy Chairman
WHY IN NEWS ?
- Recently eight Rajya Sabha MPs were suspended for unruly behaviour in the House and Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu has rejected the no-confidence motion moved by the Opposition against the Deputy Chairman Harivansh saying that it is “not admissible under the rules”.
- A no-confidence motion against the Deputy Chairman is a first in parliament and the convention is that Mr Singh should not preside over house sessions till the matter is settled.
WHAT IS THE ISSUE ?
- Opposition parties have accused Deputy Chairman of violating the parliamentary procedures in trying to pass the farm sector Bills in haste, circumventing all demands for proper voting.
- They also say that the Deputy Chairman did not allow points of order to be raised and did not allow large numbers of members of Rajya Sabha, from diverse political parties, to even speak against farm bills.
DEPUTY CHAIRMAN :
- Rajya Sabha elects a Deputy Chairman to perform the functions of the Chairman in case of a vacancy in the office of the Chairman or when the Vice-President is acting as or discharging the functions of the President.
POINT OF ORDER :
- A point of order is an objection to the pending matter or proceeding is in violation of a written and unwritten rule of the House.
VOICE VOTE ?
- It involves the speaker putting a question to the house and then asking the house to put forward its opinion in the forms of ayes (yes) or noes.
- Based on a rough measure of which side was louder, the speaker decides if the motion was passed or fell through.
- The advantage of a voice vote is that it is quick.
- The apparent disadvantage is that it is inaccurate, given that the speaker decides what the opinion of the house is based on which side is louder.
REASON FOR SUSPENDING AN MP :
- The general principle is that it is the role and duty of the Presiding Officer — Speaker of Lok Sabha and Chairman of Rajya Sabha — to maintain order so that the House can function smoothly.
- In order to ensure that proceedings are conducted in the proper manner, the Speaker/Chairman is empowered to force a Member to withdraw from the House.
RULES UNDER WHICH THE PRESIDING OFFICER ACTS :
- Rule Number 373 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business provides for the suspension of MPs by the Speaker of the House.
- To deal with more recalcitrant Members, the Speaker make take recourse to Rules 374 and 374A.
- Rule 374 says: The Speaker may, if deems it necessary, name a Member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the House by persistently and wilfully obstructing the business thereof.
- Rule 374A was incorporated in the Rule Book on December 5, 2001. The intention was to skirt around the necessity of moving and adopting a motion for suspension.
PROCEDURE IN RS :
- Like the Speaker in Lok Sabha, the Chairman of Rajya Sabha is empowered under Rule Number 255 of its Rule Book to “direct any Member whose conduct is in his opinion grossly disorderly to withdraw immediately” from the House.
- Unlike the Speaker, however, the Rajya Sabha Chairman does not have the power to suspend a Member. The House may, by another motion, terminate the suspension.
- The Chairman may “name a Member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the Council by persistently and wilfully obstructing” business.
- In such a situation, the House may adopt a motion suspending the Member from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session.
IS SUSPENDING AN MP A DECENT PRACTICE ?
- It is a strong action, but it is not uncommon. In general, a balance has to be struck.
- There can be no question that the enforcement of the supreme authority of the Presiding Officer is essential for smooth conduct of proceedings.
- However,it must be remembered that the job of the Presiding Officer is to run the House, not to lord over it.
IS SUSPENDING AN MP A COMMON PRACTICE IN PARLIAMENT ?
* On March 5 this year, seven Congress members — Gaurav Gogoi (Kaliabor), T N Prathapan (Thrissur), Dean Kuriakose (Idukki), Rajmohan Unnithan (Kasaragod), Manickam Tagore (Virudhunagar), Benny Behanan (Chalakudy) and Gurjeet Singh Aujla (Amritsar) — were suspended from Lok Sabha during the Budget Session of Parliament.
* In November 2019, Speaker Om Birla suspended two Congress Members
* In January 2019, Birla’s predecessor in the Speaker’s Chair, Sumitra Mahajan, suspended a total 45 Members belonging to the TDP and AIADMK after they continuously disrupted proceedings for days.
* On February 13, 2014, then Speaker Meira Kumar suspended 18 MPs from (undivided) Andhra Pradesh following pandemonium in the House. The suspended MPs were either supporting or opposing the creation of the separate state of Telangana.
* Before that, on September 2, 2014, nine Members were suspended for five days.
* On August 23, 2013, 12 Members were suspended for five days.
* And on April 24, 2012, eight Members were suspended for four days.
* On March 15, 1989, when Rajiv Gandhi was Prime Minister, as many as 63 Members were suspended from Lok Sabha for three days
SOME ALTERNATIVES TO SUSPENSION :
- The solution to unruly behaviour has to be long-term and consistent with democratic values.
- A previous Speaker had ordered that television cameras be focussed on the demonstrating members so that people could see for themselves how their representatives were behaving in the House.
- There must be immediate efforts led by the executive to restore the effective and meaningful functioning of Parliament. Parliament must not abridge right of MPs to take a stand in debates and votes.
QUESTION : The Abraham Accords: “The new dawn of a new Middle East” and its implications on India . Discuss
Topic- INDIA AND THE ABRAHAM ACCORDS
- India and Abraham Accords
WHY IN NEWS ?
- The White House ceremony on 15th September 2020 marking the formal normalisation of Israel’s ties with UAE and Bahrain has created a significant inflection point in regional history and geopolitics.
ABRAHAM ACCORDS :
- It is the first Arab-Israeli peace deal in 26 years.
- The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have agreed to establish full diplomatic ties with Israel as part of a deal to halt the annexation of occupied land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.
- The so-called “Abraham Accords”, announced by United States President Donald Trump, secures an Israeli commitment to halt further annexation of Palestinian lands in the occupied West Bank.
DO YOU KNOW ?
- Except with Jordan and Egypt, Israel does not have diplomatic relations with Gulf Arab states owing to its long-standing conflict with Palestinians
- Israel had signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and with Jordan in 1994.
- How is the September 15 reconciliation different from previous peace agreements (1979 & 1994)?
- Firstly, UAE and Bahrain do not have any territorial dispute with Israel, nor have they ever been at war with it.
- Although formally committed to an Arab consensus (two-state resolution of the Palestine cause) UAE & Bahrain have steadily moved towards having substantive links with Israel in recent years.
- Hence, the ‘Abraham Accords’ entered with the UAE and Bahrain are ‘peace-for-peace’ deals without any physical quid pro quo by Israel.
IMPLICATIONS OF THIS ACCORD FOR INDIA :
- India’s Stance: Geopolitically, India has welcomed the establishment of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Israel, calling both its strategic partners
- Foreign Policy Significance: India has stronger, multifaceted and growing socioeconomic engagements with Israel and the Gulf countries. Therefore, any changes in regional dynamics will impact the India’s Strategic interests in the region.
- Eases India’s Balancing Act: The new accord widens the moderate constituency for peaceful resolution of the Palestine dispute, easing India’s diplomatic balancing act.
- New Arena of Proxy War: The possibility of the southern Gulf becoming the new arena of the proxy war between Iran and Israel cannot be ruled out, particularly in Shia pockets. India would have to be on its guard to monitor such conflicts.
- Backlash on Jihadi Fringe movement: The Israel-GCC ties may provoke new polarisations between the Jihadi fringe and the mainstream.
- Economic Challenges: India has acquired a large and rewarding regional footprint, particularly as the preferred source of manpower, food products, pharmaceuticals, gem and jewellery, light engineering items, etc. This position could be challenged by Israel which has niche strength in defence, security, solar power, horticulture etc.
- India–Iran Relations impacted: For decades, one of the main sources of instability in West Asia has been the cold war between Saudi Arabia (Sunni) and Iran (Shia). This accord may make the rift wider and more violent, thus testing India-Iran relations.
WAY FORWARD :
- India must be careful and should monitor or even pre-empt any threat to its interests in the Gulf.
- Even more important for India is to manage the economic fallout of the Israel-GCC reconciliation.
- In the evolving scenario, there may be scope for a profitable trilateral synergy, but India cannot take its preponderance as a given.
- India should use this opportunity to give itself a bigger role in a region which is its strategic backyard.